DRDO test-flies indigenous “man-portable ATGM” to validate minimum range of 200-300 metres - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 22 July 2021

DRDO test-flies indigenous “man-portable ATGM” to validate minimum range of 200-300 metres

Missile earlier tested to 4 km max range; now tested to minimum range of 200-300 metres


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 23rd July 21


The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested an indigenous, third-generation, Man Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM) on Wednesday.


The lightweight, fire-and-forget MPATGM, which is integrated with a thermal sight, was launched from a man-portable launcher by a two-man crew at a target that was mimicking a moving tank.


Unusually, the test was intended to validate whether the MPATGM is effective against tank targets at the lower end of its range spectrum, which is 200-300 metres. The MPATGM has already proven in earlier tests that it can strike targets at its maximum range of 4,000 metres. 


Seldom on a battlefield does an infantryman have occasion to fire a missile at a tank from as close as 200-300 metres. Usually, the infantryman would prefer to take advantage of the MPATGM’s 4,000 metre range and destroy the tank from afar, before its main gun – with a maximum range of 2,000-2,500 metres can accurately shoot at him. 


The DRDO has long argued that ATGMs require about 400-500 metres of flight in order to stabilise and deploy their guidance mechanisms. However the army insisted on the MPATGM being effective and accurate at 200-300 metres.


That was achieved on Wednesday.


“The missile hit the target in direct attack mode and destroyed it with precision. The test has validated the minimum range successfully. All the mission objectives were met,” stated the Ministry of Defence (MoD). 


“The test brings the development of indigenous third generation MPATGM close to completion,” said the MoD. The missile incorporates a state-of-the-art infra-red imaging seeker, along with advanced avionics.


As a consequence of this successful test, the doors are closed for the Israeli Spike ATGM, which the army has been trying to import in large numbers.


In February 7, 2018, the MoD told Parliament that “on account of indigenous development of 3rd Generation MPATGM system by DRDO, the plan to build the Spike missile in India (321 launchers, 8356 missiles) was scrapped on December 20, 2017.


The development of the MPATGM was sanctioned by the MoD on January 27, 2015 and its probable date of completion (PDC) was put at July 26, 2018. The project was allocated a budget of Rs 73.46 crore.


Furthermore the MoD’s first import embargo list of 101 items prohibits the import of “short range surface to surface missiles” from December 2020 onwards.

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